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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Pool safety for toddlers promoted in House

Rep. José Pérez Cordero

By The Star Staff

In an effort to strengthen safety measures in homes with swimming pools and prevent tragedies related to the drowning of minors, Rep. José “Ché” Pérez Cordero on Thursday filed House Bill 1900, which establishes the “Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act in Puerto Rico.”

The proposed legislation, which came the day after the tragic death of a three-year-old girl in Gurabo who drowned in a swimming pool -- the most recent of such incidents in Puerto Rico -- aims to establish minimum safety standards for homes with swimming pools on the island, especially those where one or more children under the age of 6 reside.

The bill calls for the installation of security fences with alarms, as well as the development of an intervention protocol by the Institute of Forensic Sciences in cases of apparent drowning of children under 6 years of age in swimming pools.

Pérez Cordero emphasized the importance of adult shared responsibility in preventing swimming pool-related accidents and tragedies.

“We have witnessed recent cases of accidents and deaths of minors in swimming pools, which motivates us to legislate to ensure greater safety and prevent such unfortunate incidents,” he said. “It is important to look for alternatives that have been effective in other jurisdictions and that have had the result of preventing these situations, thus safeguarding the lives of minors.”

The legislation sets specific requirements for swimming pool safety fences, considered the most effective way to prevent the accidental drowning of young children.

Fences must have an automatic safety lock, ensuring that they cannot be left open by carelessness. In addition, the opening and closing system must not be accessible for manipulation by a child, and the minimum height of the fence around the pool must be 48 inches. The preparation of such regulations will fall to the Department of Public Safety, the legislator added.

Failure to comply with the proposed requirements could result in fines of up to $5,000 and would be considered an aggravating circumstance of liability under the proposed legislation.

The measure is before the House Committee on Public Safety, Science and Technology.

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